What I have observed after working with many teams of all sizes across different industries is that underneath a high performing team is a foundation of values, clear direction and interconnected relationships. Without those basic elements, no team has a real chance of survival. However, to evolve into a team that not only has a strong execution but also one that has a spirited culture, there needs to be a unique level of spirit, commitment and energy.
One team I recently worked with was great at bringing in the business but had no spirit when it came to nurturing the team members. Every individual stood on their own with no particular connection to the firm. Another team had hard workers who felt ignored and not heard, even though they had great ideas to elevate the organization’s processes. These teams couldn’t recognize what their companies stood for, where they were headed or how they fit in. They were lacking a spirited team culture.
Here are six paths to a spirited team culture:
1. USE YOUR ORGANIZATION’S VALUES AS A MASTER GUIDE
Where would a team be without guideposts to steer them along? A company’s valuesshould be the initial starting point for building a team’s culture. It is critical that every team member not only sees the values but also understands how they come to life. Values come through in our actions, behaviors and attitudes. A perfect way to demonstrate how values are part of the culture is through storytelling. Spirited team cultures encourage each person to share their stories of how their values guide all decisions and choices.
2. KNOW WHERE YOU ARE HEADED OR NOT GOING
Equally important to having a clear vision forward is identifying where the team is not headed. Sometimes by reverse brainstorming about what are not the priorities and deciding who is not the target audience can help decide the team’s focus. Some reverse brainstorming questions to ask with the team might be:
- What attitudes do not support our values?
- Which behaviors don’t describe how we want to act with our customers?
- Who has a story that doesn’t demonstrate our values?
Spirited team cultures clearly define their direction.
3. BUILD A NETWORK OF INTERCONNECTED RELATIONSHIPS
With the premise that everyone can lead from wherever they are, building deep and meaningful work relationships is key to developing a spirited team culture. To build a network of interconnected relationships encourage team members to work with different individuals on projects. Make time to meet after work in a social situation. Share each other’s strengths and areas to grow. Help everyone stay open to feedback.
Related: 5 Leadership Empowerment Strategies
4. CULTIVATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT REPRESENTS YOUR BRAND
How a team presents themselves to the outside world is another significant aspect of creating a spirited team culture. Every interaction with a customer is a moment of truth where a connection is or isn’t made. Each time a team member speaks or works with someone outside of the organization they are an ambassador for the company. To develop spirited ambassadors:
- Make sure each team member knows their role
- Have team members practice sharing the company’s products and services
- Reward team members who represent the company nobly
5. DEVELOP A COMMITMENT STRATEGY
To create a true spirited team culture, ask people about any concerns they have or things they would change about decisions made. Involve the entire team in strategy by validating ideas and suggestions offered and giving them a real consideration. Commitment only comes when people feel they have been part of the creation of a strategy.
6. ENERGIZE THE TROOPS
Once all the steps are in place it’s vital to get the team moving and shaking. Revving up members to want to be part of a spirited team culture can involve pep rally type gatherings and events. Enthusiasm is contagious and if all levels of leadership are on board a successful spirited team culture will evolve.
How have you brought a spirited team culture to your team or organization? What other paths have worked for you?
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